Thousands of years ago there was the Allspark, a gigantic and mysterious cube roaming through space, and wherever it traveled it created life, even on Cybertron, home of the Transformers. Their society flourished, until they were betrayed by Megatron, and war erupted over the Allspark, which was eventually lost in space.
But now both factions, the Autobots and the Decepticons, know it's here on Earth and both have their own agenda for its retrieval.
Since they didn't appear until 1984, Transformer toys were something I missed as a kid. The basic story of the movie is somewhat different from the original toy line but is no less inventive. Basically, after the Allspark granted life to the mechanical and electrical objects on Cybertron, they were able to transform, rearranging their bodies into common and innocuous forms, such as vehicles, devices or animals.
However, after a period of civilized behaviour, some bad robots, under the leadership of Megatron, decided they wanted to take over Cybertron but in the ensuing war, it was destroyed and the Allspark lost. So now both sides of the surviving Transformers have discovered that the cube is on Earth. For the bad guys, the Decepticons, that means they're coming to get it at any cost. Luckily for us, the good robots, the Autobots, respect life and will do what they can to protect us while also looking for the Allspark.
So, looking at it from that angle, it seemed a reasonable plot for a large-scale special-effects feature. Throw in the human angle in the form of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) a youngster supposedly doing a school report, but is instead hawking his grandfather's memorabilia on eBay so he can help his dad buy him a car. You can guess what kind of car he gets and from then on it's pretty much mayhem in giant robot form with a few witty one-liners thrown in for humour.
The level of on-screen violence is much higher than I'd have thought it would have been for a toy franchise spin-off and the opening scene is pretty heavy stuff, which is probably why it got a 12A certificate. The special-effects are good though and all that destruction seems very real. However, there's no blood, or at least I don't remember seeing any so it not a gore-fest.
However, all that mayhem is well balanced by the humour and once the Autobots start getting involved in the dialogue, you really can't take them seriously as they have some really cheesy lines. With LaBeouf as the central character, Megan Fox and Rachael Taylor providing the female interest and Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson providing the muscle as survivors from the opening scene out for some revenge, it all works pretty well.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Science-Fiction
My Rating: 7/10